Monday, 17 April 2017

Looking for "June" The Ladies hairdresser and Busy Bee Stores, sometime in 1930

Looking "June" the Hairdressers on Wilbraham Road
I never underestimate the power of a collection of old local adverts to offer up fascinating stories and pretty much take you all over the place.

So here in front of me are a set of those adverts which appeared on the dust jacket of a book lent out by Mr R. Greig Wilson who owned a newsagents on Sandy Lane and also ran one of our Circulating libraries.

Now circulating libraries were private affairs and existed alongside the local public library, and such was the demand for novels and lighter factual material that many of our newsagents went into business renting books out.

Busy Bee
At home in London mother was a regular at the local bookshop who also traded in lending copies and across Chorlton there were quite a few, from the one that operated on Beech Road, to Mr Lloyd’s on
Upper Chorlton Road and of course R. Greig Wilson’s on Sandy Lane.

It is a topic I have visited quite a few times over the years and no doubt will return to.

But for today my attention has been drawn to Busy Bee Stores  (W. Wellard, Proprietor) at 264 Upper Chorlton Road, and “June” The Ladies’ Hairdresser and Beauty Specialist on Broadwalk Wilbraham Road.

It will take some time to date the collection of adverts and that will involve trawling the directories but I think they will be from the 1930s.

Not that Mr Grieg has been much of a help for he was selling his “Stationary, Tobacco and Picture postcards” along with delivering his newspapers from at least 1911.

That said it will be after 1911 because down on Upper Chorlton Road at 264 was a Mr John Joseph Taylor who was a tailor.

Now Mr Wellard was trading as an iron monger at the shop by 1929 and Charles Slightman who also advertised on the dust cover was selling his newspapers and lending out his collection of over 1,000 books from his lending library on Manchester Road from 1923 through to 1935 so we are in the right decade and a bit.

"June"
And until those directories yield up a definite date I am settling for sometime in the 1930s for it was around then that “June” at the Broadwalk began Permanent Waxing by the Nestlé System which was the "Radione" system in which the hair was wound dry and inserted into hollow cellophane tubes sealed at both ends, but contained moistened paper”*

Long along Wilbraham Road circa 1930s
She was in her saloon at 523 Wilbraham Road by 1929 but Karl Nessler who had perfected his alternative method of curling hair in 1905 using a mixture of cow urine and water did not come up with the improvement which he called the Nestlé System until the 30’s.

“June” charged 20/- for the process and also offered "Tinting, Manicure, Face Massage , [and] all kinds of hair work carried out by experts.”

I have often wondered whether her customers were aware that Mr Nessler had arrived in Britain from Germany in 1901 and facing being interned when the Great War broke out fled to America, or that during his first experiments on his wife he managed to burn her hair off and cause some scalp burns.

That advert for an early perm, circa 1905
All of which is a complete digression but is one of the fascinating little journeys behind which there is a serious point because together the eleven adverts will reveal a little bit more about the Chorlton of just eighty or so years ago.

And in one of those nice little twist of coincidences, 264 Upper Chorlton Road is again a hardware store specialising in much the same stuff as Busy Bee which along with offering “Glass and China [as] a speciality offered “Electric Vacuum cleaners for Hire.”

But there the coincidences stop for now where “June" permed and manicured the present proprietor offers sweets and newspapers which I suppose has almost brought us full circle.

Pictures, adverts from the dust cover of a book courtesy of Margaret Connelly, Wilbraham Road in 2014 from the collection of Andy Robertson and an  early 20th century advertisement for Nessler's permanent wave machine, transferred by SreeBot, Wikipedia

*Perm (hairstyle), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perm_(hairstyle)

No comments:

Post a Comment